19:10 GMT17 February 2020
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    The fall of Syria's Aleppo won't lead to bloodbath conflict in the country, US Secretary of State John Kerry said at a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The ouster of militants from Aleppo by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad doesn’t mean conditions in Syria will stabilize, Kerry stated.

    "Even if did fall, Aleppo will not change the fundamental underline complexity of this war," Kerry stated. "If Assad takes over Aleppo, is the war going to end? No."

    The secretary added that Syria cannot be rebuilt solely by its government because that process will require millions of dollars of international investment. However, the international community won’t support Assad until there is a political settlement of the country’s civil war, he predicted.

    "Russia says that Assad is prepared to come to the table, they say that's part of their agreement," Kerry said. "I am personally deeply in favor of putting that this to the test."

    Kerry concluded by saying the conflict in Syria will be a key part of his conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Hamburg, Germany later this week during a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    In recent months, Aleppo has become a major battleground in the civil war, involving government forces, jihadists and several opposition groups. Previous internationally mediated ceasefires have collapsed as militants continued attacks and government troops resumed an advance.

    Russia has said the United States’ inability to distinguish between moderate and extremist factions fighting Assad are the main reason the ceasefires have failed.

    Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate banned by Russia and formerly known as the Nusra Front, is among several internationally designated terrorist groups operating in Syria.

    Earlier Tuesday, Assad’s forces took control of another five militant-controlled districts of eastern Aleppo, bringing the total number of areas liberated to 35, the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said.

    Related:

    Syrian Army Liberated 35 Aleppo Districts Since Start of Operation
    Syrian Army, Militia Gain Control Over One More Aleppo’s District
    UK Foreign Office Condemns Attack on Russian Military Hospital in Syria's Aleppo
    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, Bashar Assad, John Kerry, Aleppo, Syria
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